How Much Does a Drug and Alcohol Test Cost?

Last Updated on February 16, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

The costs associated with drug and alcohol testing can seem complex. However, understanding the typical prices and factors that influence them is key for employers, individuals, and healthcare providers. This guide examines the ins and outs of drug and alcohol testing costs.

Drug and alcohol tests screen for substance use and abuse. They aim to promote workplace safety, comply with regulations, and support treatment when needed. While testing does incur fees, it offers many benefits for organizations and their staff.

How Much Does a Drug and Alcohol Test Cost?

Drug and alcohol test prices vary based on the type of test and who administers it. Here are typical costs:

  • Urine tests: $30-$60 for home kits; $50-$150+ at labs
  • Saliva tests: $10-$50 for home kits; $50-$100 at labs
  • Hair tests: $60-$80 for home kits; $100-$150+ at labs
  • Blood tests: Around $100-$500, administered at labs/hospitals
  • Breathalyzers: $50-$100 for personal devices; $10-$20 per use at facilities

According to, for example, the cost of drug tests varies depending on the type of test and how it’s administered. At-home urine tests for illegal drugs generally range between $10 and $50.

However, saliva or urine tests performed at a lab will cost about $50 to $80. The most expensive are hair or blood tests done at the lab, which can cost between $100 to $650. writes that individual drug tests can cost as little as $5 for at-home test kits to $500 or more for full laboratory panels. Drug test prices depend on the type of test, who conducts it, and the number of substances being screened.

They also write that most saliva or urine drug tests cost about $20 to $40, with instant urine drug tests starting around $5. In some cases, specimens collected onsite may be sent to a lab for analysis or confirmation.

Lab-based test costs may begin at around $50 and can vary depending on the type of test (urine, blood, hair, or sweat) and the number of substances being screened. provides a list of laboratory tests, including drug testing, and their prices. For example, Acetyl Fentanyl, Qualitative, Urine, costs $129.00, while Alcohol, Ethyl, costs $55.00.

According to, urgent care centers offer drug testing services at affordable rates, generally falling within the range of $50 to $100 for self-pay patients. The cost of drug testing may vary depending on the type of test and the particulars of the test.

As you can see, professional lab tests tend to cost more than at-home kits. However, lab tests are considered more accurate and legally defensible. Home kits are best for personal use, while employers normally require testing through certified labs.

Types of Drug and Alcohol Tests

Many testing options exist, each with pros and cons:

  • Urine – Most common and accurate over long periods
  • Saliva – Easy collection and best for recent use
  • Hair – Detects long-term use but can’t determine current impairment
  • Blood – Definitive for current impairment but invasive/expensive
  • Breathalyzers – Quick alcohol detection, but only shows current intoxication

The ideal test depends on your specific needs. Workplaces often use urine or saliva for pre-employment and random drug screening. Hair provides long-term use data. Blood and breathalyzers detect current impairment best.

Factors Influencing Testing Costs

Several key factors determine drug and alcohol testing prices:

  • Test type – More advanced tests cost more.
  • Screening vs. confirmation – Confirmations via GC/MS or LC/MS cost more.
  • Single test vs. panel – Testing for multiple substances increases prices.
  • Number of specimens – Per-specimen costs decrease with higher volume.
  • Testing site – On-site and mobile testing is often more expensive.

The most cost-efficient strategy is panel testing in-lab with confirmation only when required. On-site and rush testing will increase prices.

Insurance and Legal Considerations

  • Insurance coverage – Many policies cover medically necessary testing but not employment screening.
  • Workplace requirements – Federal and state laws mandate testing in some industries like transportation.
  • DOT compliance – Urine panel testing is required for safety-sensitive transportation roles.

While workplace testing does incur costs, it improves safety and meets legal obligations. Stay compliant and mitigate risks through smart testing policies.Workplace Drug Testing

Reducing the Costs of Testing

Organizations can keep their testing budget down through:

  • Policy review – Only test when mandated or strongly justified.
  • Panel testing – Check for multiple substances at once.
  • Contract bidding – Compare quotes from multiple vendors.
  • Employee programs – Invest in wellness initiatives to reduce need for testing.

Testing judiciously, but also accurately, is key for cost-effective results.

Final Words

Drug and alcohol testing costs can initially seem high, especially for companies with many employees. However, accurate testing protects workplaces and workers while meeting important regulations.

Organizations can keep costs down through smart policies, panel testing, volume discounts, and employee support programs. While challenging, promoting workforce health and safety has rewards that outweigh the costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do so drug tests test for alcohol?

No, standard drug tests do not check for alcohol or ethanol. Alcohol clears the body quickly and does not show up in urine, hair, or saliva tests that detect evidence of other recreational or illicit drugs.

Alcohol can only be detected directly while still in the bloodstream, normally for 12-24 hours after consumption. Blood alcohol tests and breathalyzers specifically measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to determine if someone is legally impaired from recent alcohol intake.

Therefore, standard workplace drug tests only screen for drugs like cannabis, cocaine, opioids, and amphetamines. To check for alcohol use, companies need to utilize specific alcohol screening methods like blood tests or breathalyzers in addition to standard drug tests.

Can a home drug test detect alcohol?

Unfortunately home drug test kits cannot directly detect alcohol or blood alcohol concentration. The affordable test cups, strips, and cassettes only check urine, saliva, or hair samples for traces of recreational and illegal drugs like THC, methamphetamine, etc.

Since alcohol metabolizes too quickly to be excreted into urine or saliva, a home test will not pick up recent drinking. The only at-home way to approximate blood alcohol level is via a personal breathalyzer device. However, these are not as reliable or accurate as professional-grade breathalyzers.

For definitive screening of alcohol use, individuals need to undergo blood testing or professional breathalyzer tests. These are not currently available in at-home kits. So home drug tests should not be relied on to detect alcohol consumption.

What is the most accurate drug test?

The most accurate and definitive drug test is laboratory GC/MS or LC/MS confirmation testing. GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) and LC/MS (liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry) can precisely identify specific drug compounds and metabolites, removing false positives.

While urine, hair, saliva, and blood screens do detect drug usage, they can be subject to inaccuracies. However GC/MS and LC/MS confirmation examines the molecular profile of a sample to pinpoint exact substances present.

That is why many workplace testing policies require GC/MS or LC/MS confirmation after initial screening. While more expensive than simple screening, confirmation via GC/MS or LC/MS provides the highest level of accuracy for drug testing.

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